4.28.2014

#bestfoot Monday Check-in!

Woo-hoo! It's Monday! Are you as excited as I am? Okay, yesterday I was mourning the end of the weekend but in all reality, today is a beautiful day! The beginning of a great week! All is wonderful in the world! And to be totally honest, I am just happy, happy, happy after an amazing training week last week. 

Here is what I did! And this week I am adding in a twist. In parenthesis after the workouts I am noting my average heart rate from my work out mainly so I can keep tabs on those numbers. Please note: If my workout is a run, plank, yoga (okay, that is everyday) but if I do all three back-to-back-to-back I keep the sensor on the whole time. One workout. One average heart rate. Now, let's go!

Monday: I ran 2 miles after work, planked, and did 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility (99). Gotta love rest days!

Tuesday: I ran 6 miles after work, planked, and did 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination (109). Yep, a little more running brought my average heart rate up. Makes total sense.

Wednesday: I was going to run before work but changed my mind for really good reasons. And then I overslept and could only squeeze in 1 mile run before work, my plank, and 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. I didn't even put my heart rate sensor on. Too little time! Now this Wednesday I got to get up dark and early to get my run in and make it to this chat! And you realize, you can leave a comment with a question and win some samples from Clif Bar. Just saying, your odds are very good as everyone seems to shy to post a question these days! You don't even have to go to the chat to win but that increases your odds too!

Thursday: Workout day! Well, I had two doctor appointments to go to so I took a sick day and squeezed in some extra fitness. I started the day with a 5.02 mile run before taking darling daughter to school (121). I then had time to plank and do 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination - before cleaning up for my first doctor appointment (78). After my second doctor appointment I had time to squeeze in a 6.75 mile run at the gym before picking darling daughter up from school (153). Thank goodness for planning ahead and packing snacks, etc. but I should have packed more. The apple and protein drink wasn't enough!

Friday: I ran 2.79 miles at the gym before work. My legs felt tired but I think it was more a mental thing so I worked them. Gotta love running intervals to make yourself feel stronger! I followed my run up with my plank and 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility (130). Later that day after work, I ran an additional 5.05 miles at home to energize myself for the night (115). Life is good!

Saturday: I ended up running 4 miles at home, planked, and did 30 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility (108). By this point, I was keeping tabs on my total mileage since my weekly goal is 40 miles and I knew I wanted a longer run on Sunday. However, with where I was, Sunday's run wasn't going to be too long.

Sunday: I made arrangements for a friend to watch darling daughter so I could run with dear hubby. Before heading to my friends, I did my plank and 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. I didn't put my sensor on and I wanted the yoga to be gentle as I had a run to do. We did a 10.65 mile run and check out the profile below (160)! It was fun!

From Nike+
Sunday brought me to 43 miles for the week and marked day 850 of my running streak and day 120 of my yoga streak. My daily plank for #ffaprilabs has grown to 3:15. It is hard! But I do see myself continuing the planks after the April challenge. I will touch base on that in a few days when I wrap up April. 

In terms of nutrition, I am a freggie craving lady almost all the time now and that is good. Darling daughter and I stocked up on our stuff during our Costco trip this past Saturday. We should be good for a week....maybe. The banana holder has been set aside and replaced by a bowl. We eat way too many bananas for one holder! The freezer is stocked with frozen berries - strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and pomegranate avrils. They are wonderful for my daily oatmeal or dear hubbies smoothies. Darling daughter loves her berries any way I give them to her! We also have oranges and grapes to grab whenever. 

And the Polar Loop data:


This post will be linked to the #bestfoot link up through Run to the Finish,The Adventures of a Darwinian Fail, and The Sweet Life with Ericka. I love this link up and each week strive to find at least one new lady to support! Jump on over and find some awesomeness and add your own!

4.25.2014

Coconut Oil Flour Tortillas

You never know what will inspire you to look at things in a whole different light. Last month I was a cookbook and it has definitely impacted me in a positive way. I have fallen in love with coconut oil. I still have recipes to try but I find myself reaching for coconut oil more often. So when I decided I had had enough of store bought tortillas with a crazy list of ingredients, and sometimes hidden whey, I googled recipes and reached for my coconut oil.
introduced to

I don't know what it is about me but sometimes I just can't find one recipe I like for various reasons and tortillas was a hard one. I did not want lard or other "gross" ingredients. I was looking for pure and simple. I pulled from this recipe and that recipe and then I added my coconut oil twist and here is what I have been turning back to again and again. I tried a variation once and failed. Darling daughter said to stick with what is working. "It's yummy!"

The ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour (right now I am using all purpose but I still plan to play with my recipe and get some alternative flours in the mix...one day)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I use standard salt instead of my traditional Hawaiian salt)
  • 2 Tbl coconut oil (I don't even melt it)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup hot water

The steps:
  1. Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut oil into a large bowl.
  2. Mix with your finger tips until the oil is spread throughout the flour mixture.
  3. Slowly add the water and continue mixing with your hands until a ball is formed. Note: I have noticed that the amount of water I use varies slightly each time and am attributing it to the humidity where I live. You want your ball to stick together but not be too gooey.
  4. Knead the dough a couple of minutes until the ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Cover your dough and let it rest 30 minutes.
  6. Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces. 
  7. Roll each piece into a flat roundish tortilla on a floured surface. I roll all my tortillas first and put four on a large place, sprinkle with flour ever so lightly, put a plate on top for the next four. I have limited counter space.
  8. Cook over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. My first tortilla always takes longer but perhaps I am too lazy waiting for my pan to heat up properly. You will see the tortilla puff up and then flip and cook the other side. It is really only a minute or so each side. Note: Do not grease the pan. I did this at first and it just made the first tortillas too crispy.
  9. Store in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. I can't really tell you how long they will last because ours are usually gone within days. 

Yield: 8 tortillas

You can make a double batch all at once with no ill effects. I just did this last night since it was taco night and I needed tortillas and I wanted some for lunches and other meals. I just got two skillets going to make the flipping part easier.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my new pans!
Daily Affirmation: I am learning to walk away when needed.

4.23.2014

The Hump Day Hump

What goes up must come down. That darn gravity thing. I love how my training week last week went up. It was awesome. This week, I am feeling bugged by the hump day hump. I hit it and stumbled. And yes, I know it is just a day. And even though part of me is bummed I am behind training there is a bigger part that doesn't feel too bad and that is because of this girl.

I am heads over hills in love with this girl.


And this was her response to all the cracker crumbs she left me on the couch Sunday night. In all reality, the first version was much better but once she caught me trying to film her the theatrics died down a bit. She even got dear hubby singing outside in the garden due to her first version.

Fast forward a day and she eagerly jumped on board to be my photographer and took this photo of me after I did my 6 mile run, 2:50 plank, and 15 minutes of yoga after work.


She is pretty darn talented or am I biased?

Then this happened.


Yep, she lost her tooth. In fact, I pulled it out for her. It had been bugging her. She could only eat a grape tomato for lunch. I tried to see if her tooth was ready to be pulled after school but she cried "ouch!". I stopped. I made pasta for dinner thinking that would be painless for her but nope. She finally turned to me and asked me to try again with the promise to stop if she said ouch. Okay - deal. I pulled. She said ouch. I showed her the tooth in my hand.

This brings me to my hump. She wanted me home this morning to see what the Tooth Fairy brought. I told her I was going to the gym before work. She said okay but I had a change of heart at 2:00 am and then overslept. But how often do you lose your 4th tooth? Yep, once! And as much as I want to stick to my training plan and demonstrate keeping fitness a key component of life, I had a bigger lesson to share today. Darling daughter comes first. She really does each and every day and this was something special. The gym will always be there for me. Today I was there for her and yes, she grinned from ear to ear when she saw me this morning.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God gave me darling daughter.
Daily Affirmation: I live a balanced life.

P.S. Do you want a chance to win a CLIF SHOT Toolkit with samples? Just hop over here a leave a comment! I really want to have Clif Bar mail some stuff to two of my readers! :)

4.22.2014

CLIF Shot Chat: SAVE THE DATE!

This is a sponsored post as I was asked to help spread the word. I am not being paid to write this post and the opinions expressed are my own.

Guess what? There is a CLIF Shot 90-to-0 Prep Talk Running Q&A on the Clif Bar Facebook page on April 30 at 12:00 pm ET/9:00 am PT (6:00 am HT). Yes, I had to add Hawaii time and that just means an early chat here on the islands!

The chat will be hosted by two awesome champion ultrarunners, Scott Jurek and Ellie Greenwood. They will both be ready to answer any and all of our running questions and no, you don't need to be a distance runner. They are accepting questions relating to your first ever 5K to ultra distance questions. Oh me oh my! It is time to start thinking of some questions because I know you all have some. Me too! Just what are my questions?

And that is the good thing about this announcement. It gives us time to get our questions in place and clear our calenders to be there to ask and learn. I am super excited about this opportunity and will need to talk to my supervisor about squeezing it into my work day. Thank goodness the chat is on a Wednesday when I can work a little later to make up the difference! I just need to stop running in time to start chatting! There is always a catch.

But it gets better. The chat will include prizes as well. One lucky person will receive a 30-minute 1:1 consultation with Scott Jurek to discuss how to prepare before, during, and after race day. This is awesome for first time racers but even you experienced runners, myself included, can always benefit from further insights to fine tune our race plan. Scott will choose his favorite question at the end of the chat.

In addition, several participants will receive a CLIF SHOT Toolkit featuring CLIF SHOT products, gear for training and race day, and CLIF's marathon training and nutrition guide. Sweet!

And the deal gets sweeter! To reward you for planning ahead and not procrastinating (that's the Mommy in me coming out), two of my readers will be randomly selected to receive a CLIF SHOT Toolkit too! All you need to do is comment below (or on my Facebook page) with the question you want to ask on chat day! I will be selecting the two lucky comments randomly from my blog and Facebook page. The winners will be announced on April 30th. "See" you on April 30th at Clif's Facebook chat!

What will I be asking? I am not sure yet but perhaps something centered around training for an ultramarathon. I really want to run an ultra one day but there are a couple of things holding me back. One, there aren't many ultra races offered on Maui for me select from but I don't think they can help me with that. Okay, I know they can't but that is minor. My big thing, how I Earth do I train for an ultra while holding a full-time job and being a Mommy? Is it possible? What should my training weeks look like? And what if hitting the roads and trails won't happen that much? Am I setting myself up for failure?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for learning about this chat ahead of time!
Daily Affirmation: I can formulate a question or two in time!

4.21.2014

#bestfoot: Staying Accountable

In training there are good weeks, bad weeks, and okay weeks. This week can be summed up as a good week in so many ways. The only thing that gets me down is the lack of my long run outside but that was made a decision early on in the week. In fact, on the Monday. You see, I was going to take darling daughter to Easter mass on Saturday so I could run long outside on Sunday. Thing is, I found out the service would be around four hours long due to other things going on. That would not set neither darling daughter nor I up for success to attend mass that starts at our regular dinner time and extends beyond our bedtimes. This Mommy made a switch - mass on Sunday and no long road run for me. It was a great decision and my week rounded out nicely...thanks to lots of determination on my part.

So what did I do? Let's see!

Monday: I felt irritable and grouchy all day with a nagging headache. I came home and ran 2.76 miles after work (oops! I was supposed to stop at 2 miles) and followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. During my yoga it dawned on me, irritability + headaches = hormones. It doesn't really change things but at least it brought understanding. I also moved my dolphin plank for #ffaprilabs to before my yoga session due to dreading the plank and "ruining" the peacefulness of my yoga.

Tuesday: I ran 6 miles after work and felt like I was back in my groove. I even accidentally held my plank 5 seconds too long and you know I will keep building on the mistake. As of now my plank is 2:15. I was supposed to stop at 2:10 but when I got to that time I couldn't remember if I was to stop at 2:10 or go beyond 2:10.  I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Advanced Strength.

Wednesday: I was supposed to run 8 miles today but only got to 6.5 miles before work. I ran fartleks and had a blast! I followed it up with my plank and yoga - Beginner Flexibility. Yes, I could have skipped the plank and yoga and got 8 miles but Wednesdays are my longer work days and there is so much to do once I get home. I wanted to make sure I got my fitness taken care of so I could be 110% there for darling daughter later.

Thursday: I ran 2.01 miles after work and followed it up with my plank and yoga - 15 minutes of Beginner Flexibility. I really can't remember why this turned into my "rest" day but I think I was just juggling a lot in life.

Friday: I ran 10.26 miles at home. Dear hubby ended up having to go into work so I ended up at home with darling daughter. Yay for emergency vacation days and an awesome work place! I followed it up with my plank and cried out in agony. Darling daughter told me I had to do it. I told her I was done and she looked at me collapsed on the floor and snapped her fingers. I asked her if that meant good job. She kindly told me, nope. It means get up and get moving. Yoga time - 15 minutes - Intermediate Combination done.

Saturday: I ran 6.01 miles at home in the morning and followed it up with my plank and yoga - 15 minutes - Beginner Flexibility. Darling daughter and I baked and cleaned our hearts out to be ready for Easter and fun and games! A new pair of running shoes arrived from Kindrunner so I had to give them a test run - another 1.5 miles done.

Sand Bunny, Carrots, and Parakeet in formation!
Sunday: Happy Easter! After seeing what the bunny brought and eating some cinnamon rolls - homemade the day before, no icing, no dairy, a Heavenly indulgence - I ran 5 miles and squeezed in my plank and 15 minutes of yoga (plus packing the picnic with darling daughter's help) before work. My yoga class today was Intermediate Combination. The whole family went to church and the beach to celebrate Easter. It was a blast and we even squeezed in another run on the beach - darling daughter wanted to run. I grabbed my phone and said, "Let's make it a training run!" My goal: 1 mile. She was game and started out fast and strong. By 0.85 miles she was ready to throw in the towel...and so was dear hubby. I talked her into slowing her pace and that lasted a nanosecond and with some gentle encouragement and playing landmark games, we made it to 1.06 miles...dear hubby too. In her 5K she must start slower! And yes, I may encourage her to walk through the aid stations. Seriously, at the start I feel she was running my standard easy paces. Her overall pace was 13'28". Great job! P.S. We later made a sand Sphinx and Pyramids. 

I ended up running 41 miles this week and you know I am always happy to break 40 miles. I do wish I did some 30+ minute yoga classes but that is part of the weekly check-in's. You find out what is going good or what is lacking and learn from it. I want to do at least one 30 minute yoga session next week. The planking is hard and wipes me out each day but I am sticking to it. I ended this week with a 2:40 plank, running streak day 843, and yoga streak day 113. Thank you God! I am so blessed.

And yes, I am still tracking my daily movements with my Polar Loop and wear my heart sensor in most of my runs. I love that my overall percentage is moving up! It is nice to reach my daily goal and get fireworks but I agree with others, it would be beneficial if the user could adjust the daily goal to meet what they want to do. If you look closely you can see that on my "rest" days I do move less. This week I rested on Monday and Thursday with shorter runs. It does make a difference.


This post will be linked to the #bestfoot link up through Run to the Finish,The Adventures of a Darwinian Fail, and The Sweet Life with Ericka. I love this link up and each week strive to find at least one new lady to support! Jump on over and find some awesomeness and add your own!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for beaches.
Daily Affirmation: I am learning to walk away from a fight.

4.17.2014

Fartlek Running!

Yesterday morning my run was fun and after a few minutes into it I realized essentially, I was running a fartlek on the treadmill. It makes sense that this then turns into a post about fartlek running.

What exactly is a fartlek? In Swedish it means "speed play" but it isn't the same as intervals. Intervals are way more structured. You can read more about them HERE. In fartleks you move between bouts of faster and slower running without the pressure of hitting x-paces for x-duration. If you are doing that, you are moving towards interval training. Think of a fartlek as this concept - you see a mailbox ahead and say, "Okay, I am going to pick up my pace until I get to that mailbox!". You do, you ease up again and pick your next landmark.

Now how on Earth did I manage that on a treadmill? Easy. And perhaps a bit confusing. Fartleks can be completely unstructured (the mailbox example), a bit more structured (I am going to get into that soon), or a mix of the two. For the structured fartleks you may use minutes instead of landmarks and I say go this route if the landmark, unstructured way, doesn't fit. And play with the minutes, or in my case yesterday, the distance.

To give you an example, I started my run with the treadmill at 6.2. After 0.5 miles I picked up the pace to 6.6 for half a mile. I returned to 6.2 for half a mile. I then went to 7.5 for half a mile and back down to 6.2 for half a mile. If you know intervals you can see this is not running intervals as my speed is going all over the place. There isn't enough structure to be intervals. I switched the pace to 6.6 and ran a mile and brought it down to 6.2 for half a mile. Then it was increase by 0.1 each 0.1 miles to get me another half mile, I repeated the top pace another 0.1 miles and followed the ladder back down and did a half mile at 6.2. Then I got really sporadic with the speed and can't remember point for point what I did but I think you can get the general picture. I ended up running 6.5 miles with an average pace of 9'17". It had areas of work where my heart rate got up there and areas of recovery. It was a fartlek.


Why run fartleks? One, they are fun! But there are other benefits. Fartlek running trains your cardiovascular and muscular systems in oxygen absorption, delivery, and utilization. They improve your endurance at lower muscle stress. They teach you patience during low grade discomfort. Yes, I can do this for just two minutes. I am tired but I can handle two minutes. And they improve your strength, running form, and decrease the chance of injury if done properly.

Who should run fartleks? All types of runners! It is a great way to introduce new runners and run/walkers into faster running. And for those experienced runners, it still lets you work on strength, your mental toughness, and may bring back some of the fun in running during an intense training cycle.

And yes, for me, yesterday's run was indeed fun and hard work. I hit a training pace I hadn't touched in awhile and worked some at my GMP (goal marathon pace). It was a great workout!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for health insurance. I know this may be a touchy subject for some but yes, I am thankful for health insurance.
Daily Affirmation: I can see my weaknesses and admit them. This makes me stronger and more honest.

4.15.2014

Blog of the Month

One of my goals in 2014 is to make more connections in the world and spread the love. With that said, I dreamed up Blog of the Month. Yes, I know it is nothing Earth shattering. Monthly features are indeed nothing new and revolutionary but this feature on my blog is new. I put out the idea to fellow SweatPink, Kindrunner, and FitFluential Ambassadors and I am not at a loss of blogs to share. You see, I did it this way so I wasn't just promoting blogs I already read but hoped to find some new gems as well! You would think I would announce these the start of the month but it seems I am just going mid-month to mid-month based on when my first one was announced in January. 

April's blog is another new blog for me...and some young blood! I am loving this!!!

Introducing Passion for Life, Love, and Health! What a wonderful blog name! This blog is written by Ashleigh, who is a 20-something with a degree in Psychology and she loves creating art, music, and writing. Oh my! What a doll! I loved my psychology classes in high school and college. So much fun!

I also love that Ashleigh, like myself, has a blog mission. Her mission statement is:

"Passion for Life, Love, and Health aims to be a provider of resources, inspiration, and even encouragement for people who are working on living a healthy lifestyle. A weight loss blog at heart, it chronicles Ashleigh's journey to greater wellness and fewer pounds, while providing a plethora of tips, information, and resources on nutrition, fitness, motivation, mental health, and overall health, especially as they pertain to weight management."

What a mission! 

You see, in life, we are all connected and what I truly cherish in blogging is that you can connect with other like-minded souls and it really doesn't matter how old you are or where you live. We all have a story to tell and we can all learn from one another. This month Ashleigh has been focused on "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body" and there is a lot of truth in that. Hop on over to her blog, read about A National Stress Awareness Challenge, and tell Ashleigh Erica G sent you her way. I will definitely be following her journey! How about you?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for new friends.
Daily Affirmation: My mind in open to learning.

4.14.2014

#bestfoot: Checking In

Mondays. They can be really tough days for me. The weekend is over, the work week begins, and time management becomes a greater issue. Last week I feel I flopped all week due to starting the week off on a bad foot emotionally. This week, my Monday morning hasn't been stellar as I peeked into my full-time job inbox and saw a huge project to work on, which will take me away from the other 500 things I need to do but all is well. I refuse to let that mess up another training week for me...or at least I keep telling myself that. Last week still stings but in all reality, it may not be as bad as I am envisioning.

So let's talk training!

Monday: I ran two miles after work and followed it up with 25 minutes of yoga - my Ab-Defining class. Today I was on target. 

Tuesday: I ran one mile after work. I couldn't get my heart and soul into anything as I was emotionally and physically beat from the challenges of the weekend and lack of sleep. I hoped one day of "rest" would get me back on track. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. I am now off target.

Wednesday: My goal was 8 miles before work. I did get to the gym before work but only did two miles and followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. I forgot to do my daily plank at the gym and ended up doing it on my office floor before getting to work. At this point, I was beginning to feel down on myself. I really shouldn't let that happen.

Thursday: My determination was kicking in and I ran 4.32 miles before work and followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. After work I ran another 5.07 miles and followed that up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. This was a pretty good day even though nothing was according to plan. I am winging things completely. 

Friday: I ran 5.25 miles after work and this in itself was amazing. At the time I started the idea of a mile seemed daunting so I am happy I stuck it out. I followed it up with 26 minutes of yoga - my Faith class and halfway through remembered I was supposed to do my Ab-Defining class. Oops. Today my plank time was 1:50 and it is getting really hard as I am physically collapsing after each plank. Gotta love #ffaprilabs!

Saturday: I was dragging in the morning and even forgot my bottle of VegaSport hydrator at home. I realized this on our way to the gym and decided to just roll with it. I ran 3.15 miles and couldn't get into my zone. I stopped and did my yoga - 30 minutes for the Intermediate Flexibility class. I was loose and happy with my improvements in some poses and decided to try to do just another more mile of running. Deep down I wanted three. I ran another 3.11 miles. It was an accomplishment but I also knew I was falling short of my weekly goal and that my long run was going to be a flop this week. I tried to not get too hard on myself. When I prepped my drink my goal was to run 10 miles today.

Sunday: I ran 3.13 miles and followed it up with 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Flexibility. Then it was time to plank and get everyone fed and ready for church. It was a bit of a battle and I yearned for more yoga time to keep my calm on. Later in the day I ran another 5 miles. 

As of Sunday, I am on day 836 of my running streak, day 106 of my yoga streak, and my daily plank for #ffaprilabs is at 2:00. It is tough adding that 5 seconds on each day and my heart rate climbs during the plank. I am doing the dolphin plank each day for this challenge and have started turning a song on before starting the plank in an attempt to distract my mind. I ended up with 34 running miles. My goal is at least 40 a week so I am a bit shy but in all reality, I think I am too hard on myself.

I am still wearing my Polar Loop and heart sensor during workouts and do love looking at the data. Here is some of that!


How was your week?

This post will be linked to the #bestfoot link up through Run to the Finish,The Adventures of a Darwinian Fail, and The Sweet Life with Ericka. I love this link up and each week strive to find at least one new lady to support! Jump on over and find some awesomeness and add your own!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful darling daughter got her grouchies out before church.
Daily Affirmation: I can increase my plank each day by 5 seconds. I can do it. I can!

4.11.2014

Product Review: CamelBak Relay

This is a sponsored post. I received the CamelBak Relay at no cost to try out at home. It was my choice to write this review. All opinions expressed are soley my own.

Hydration.

We all know it is important. And fortunately, I do love water. In fact at work I crave a nice cup of cold water on my desk at all times. I may not always get the cold part but I have discovered, drinking water makes me feel better. I am less achy and a bit more alert. Yes, my head just feels water.

At home I turn to water quite a bit too and am trying to get darling daughter to do the same. She is pretty good at it but unfortunately dear hubby can be a bad influence. He is not a water drinker. He needs flavor, sugar, whatever. But on a bright note, he is sipping water now through the night! Progress step 1! Now if only I could get him to try some of the water from this pitcher! Perhaps he will taste the difference and be converted for good!

It has been awhile since I used a filter pitcher. I had one years ago, in fact, I went through three of the same brand. The lids broke. I couldn't keep track of when to change the filter and they just took up too much space in my fridge. You see, I need all that room for fruits, veggies, and other nutritional yummies!

What I first loved about the CamelBak Relay is that the lid snaps on...tight. That lid isn't going anywhere and that is helpful when you have a six year old in the house who is trying to do more and more all by herself. Second, I will remember when I need to replace the filter as it has an awesome easy design. Just turn the knob on top to the month you put the filter in and it displays four months with the final being replacement month. Clever!

But is all this filtration worth it? Doesn't it just slow things down? Let's address speed first. There is a smaller lid on top you lift to fill the pitcher back up and a fill line, which is below the 10 cup capacity line. It filters fast. They claim at the speed of your faucet and I agree. But in all reality, we are talking normal faucet speed not super high spray faucet speed. But I have never stood there saying, "Oh I wish this would filter faster!".

Now for the first question, is it worth it? This is a touchy subject and a source of some controversy on to whether filtered or tap water is better for you. Let me tell you where I stand. I drink tap water at work and yes, sometimes at home. I am fortunate to live in a country and a state where it is okay and tastes okay. And for those who care about fluoride, the water in Hawai'i is not fluoridated and CamelBak states their filter does not remove fluoride. But still, when we moved in to our home and the fridge had a filter unit, we used that water. It comes out slow and not all that cold. So I thought, perhaps I will give this pitcher a try.

What darling daughter and I first noticed was it did taste better. Think of it as crisper and more refreshing and I attribute that to its double filter technology. And darling daughter is asking for water more often now so that is a good thing. So for me, is the pitcher worth it? Yes! Is filtered water worth it? Yes! If it can get any one person to drink more water over other drinks I will always say go for it! And for darling daughter, since she is limited to water or milk, and only so much milk a day, she is hydrating more now that she is drinking more water.

The pitcher is streamlined and doesn't take up much room at all in our fridge. It can even fit on the door but I have it on a lower shelf. Darling daughter has easy access to it but right now she can only pour it herself when it is less than half full. It is just a bit too heavy and awkward for her when it is fuller but she will get it all figured out soon enough.

The CamelBak Relay is available at Target or online and retails at $36.99. The replacement filter is $12 for one or $28.50 for a three pack. Not a bad price at all considering I was paying $50 for the replacement filters for our fridge. Each filter lasts four months assuming you drink one pitcher full a day. And don't forget, the CamelBak Relay is covered by the CamelBak lifetime guarantee.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for great tasting water!
Daily Affirmation: I have a beautiful soul.

4.09.2014

What I have learned from 100+ days of yoga

Today was day 102 of my yoga streak, and since I am a runner first I got to say, it is also day 832 of my running streak. It is good to celebrate the small milestones in life!

So what I have I learned from 100+ days of yoga?

1. I shouldn't have waited so long. Yes, I had done yoga here and there. I looked at books, articles online, etc. and tried to incorporate the poses in my life but it didn't really click. It didn't click until I did two things: first, make a commitment to do at least 15 minutes of yoga every day and second, get the YogaStudio app on my iPhone.

2. The Yoga Studio app is AMAZING! This app has been instrumental in getting me to do my yoga each and every day. So instrumental it deserves a bullet on its own. I love the variety of classes it has so I don't get bored. In addition, you can create some of your own, which I have done. And you can change what the teacher tells you and background sounds. Right now I am listening to the Soothing Guitar and yes, it soothes my soul while I work on flexibility, relaxation, and/or strength.

3. Yoga is hard. Okay, not always as some classes are gentler than others. I try to alter things but some classes are way hard and take commitment and focus but it is worth it.

4. It is okay to modify a pose or go into Child's Pose. My body doesn't feel the same every day and yoga isn't a linear line of improvement. Some days I am just tighter. Some days I amaze myself by how loose I am. Listen to your body and don't force things.

5. Don't be afraid to try. There are some crazy poses in yoga and no, I haven't tried them all but I do try some advanced poses here and there. You see, I look at it this way....I will never learn to do the pose if I never try to do the pose. Baby steps will get me further down the yoga road.

6. It is a good supplement to running. I truly feel my running has improved through yoga. I remind myself of this whenever I feel "guilty" about converting over to yoga time when I really want more running time. My chiropractor explained it this way, running compacts your body, yoga stretches it back out. She is happy I have added yoga in the mix...and I am seeing her less often.

7. It is calming and empowering. Yes, yoga can soothe my soul in one minute and make me feel strong the next. It all depends on the class and of course, my body that day. Just being honest.

8. It is balancing my hormones. Okay, I have no scientific proof of this but I feel it is helping with some of those perimenopausal symptoms I am experiencing. In fact, I feel a bit more like the me I used to be after I started doing yoga. Perhaps too much became stagnant in my body and yoga is getting those good old juices flowing again. So whether or not it is truly impacting my hormones, the end result is the same. I am feeling better and more vibrant.

9. It is easier without shoes or socks on. Just saying. If I am doing my class at the gym I often leave my running shoes on. For many poses, that is okay. For some, not so much. Tree pose with running shoes can be a bit ouchy. Why oh why don't I just take those shoes off? And socks on a mat can be slippy. Yep, learned that one at home. Take the darn socks off!

10. It connects me with my breath. Yoga tends to bring my mind back into myself and allows me some serenity in a different way than running. In running my mind processes a lot of emotions I do need to go through. In yoga my mind focuses on my breathing.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the technology to have a yoga teacher whenever and wherever I want.
Daily Affirmation: I will overcome a broken heart.

4.08.2014

Resist the Snooze Button!

I am a morning runner except when I am not. I go through cycles and right now I find myself in that
cycle where it is near impossible to pull my body out of bed by 4:00am, which means, I run after work instead of before.

First, let me say I have the foundation in place to get up dark and early. I'm prepared, I have a routine, and I go to bed early. You can read more about my tips HERE. But the thing is, I am still hitting the snooze.

So first, let's question why. The howling wind, rain, and just plain darkness can make it hard to climb out of bed. Honestly, it does. And even though our days are pretty much the same here on Maui, there is some seasonal difference in sunrise and sunset. Perhaps that is what makes it harder for me to get out of bed. The thing is, do I just have a hard time during the "winter" time of the year...and yes, we are officially in spring and things are beginning to lighten up.

Or is it just too comfy in my home with my family? I don't want to change the comfy factor. I do cherish my time with my family but if I get up and run early perhaps I could play with darling daughter more after work/school. On a side note, we are really good at playing and working on homework while I run and do yoga.

So why do I care? Mainly because my runs at the gym bring me into the fit zone of training better. It makes me feel good to sweat before work. It gives me more time in the afternoon to add other fun elements into my life.

Therefore my post today is a virtual kick in the butt to myself to get me to stop hitting snooze. By telling you I want to get up early and keep failing I will be more motivated to not hit the button, to get up, to run, and to do what I really want to do...even if I don't feel that way when my alarm goes off tomorrow. I will resist the snooze button! Maybe it is time to move the alarm out of arm's reach.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for darling daughter's awesome behavior at church this past Sunday.
Daily Affirmation: I can forgive.

4.04.2014

An Ab-Defining April

Now that it is April 4th I might as well get around to discussing a goal of mine - to focus on my abs this month. I mentioned it in my March Review but let's really talk about what I mean.

My goal is to have a stronger core and I won't argue if I end up with better defined abs. This has been an ongoing this for me for about well....6 years. Ironically the age of my daughter. I feel pregnancy, emergency c-section, whatever changed my abs and I have been working on them on and off over the years to get my core muscles stronger and in better shape. This isn't all about appearances though. I truly feel my running is improving as my core strength improves and yes, my running is very important to me.

So what am I doing? Pretty much what I have been but a bit more focused. I am aiming to do things better. This means, continue my clean eating and look for ways to improve it just a tad. The other day during a stress moment at work I walked to the general store with the idea to grab a coconut water and chips. But part of me knew I really didn't want chips. I just wanted crunchy. The first thing I saw when I walked in the store was a Fuji apple. YES! I wanted that apple more than anything. I left with an apple and coconut water. I hope to make more of these better choices throughout April and beyond.

Second, work those abs. Yes, clean eating helps your abs but I am still a firm believer that you need to work them too especially if you are looking to improve core strength; therefore, at least two of my yoga sessions each week will focus more on core strength. My goal is Mondays and Fridays but adding in other days is fine too but let's start with baby steps and I am not ready to give up too much flexibility and balance work since that is helping my pesky hip.

And finally, I was blessed to see a facebook posting by FitFluential on Tuesday announcing #FFAprilAbs. You can read more about it HERE but essentially it is a month long commitment to daily planks and the plank time increases 5 seconds a day. They have a calender to help you along and start with a 30 second plank. I started with a minute - long enough to challenge me but not to fail. And to up the game, I do my plank after my daily run and yoga work so sometimes my core is already "tired" by the time I start and I like it that way! By the way, it isn't too late to join in on #FFAprilAbs with FitFluential and Puma and perhaps win some PUMA Soundchunk speakers.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the friends in my life.
Daily Affirmation: My heart is capable of giving and receiving love.


4.02.2014

Not quite Wordless Wednesday


Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the sunshine.
Daily Affirmation: I will get up earlier tomorrow.

4.01.2014

A #bestfoot March

I can't believe March is over! And for the first time this year I am feeling pretty good at the end of the month as I sit down to review my progress. In fact, I think January I was so out of it my review didn't happen until the beginning of March when I did January and February together.

First, let's just talk numbers. Last March I ran 104 miles. I am stoked to say I ran 144 miles this month and that the downward trend I saw last year isn't here this year. In fact, this year I had a valley in February but that all makes sense with what was going on in my life. I came out of the depths and am ready to be strong! Year to date I have run 267 miles, not quite where I dream to be but again, I am happy. March 31st marked day 792 of my running streak bringing me to 3,521 streak miles. March 31st also marked day 62 of my yoga streak.

Now for my 2014 goals...how am I measuring up?

Goal 1: Fuel my body well. This is always an ongoing project but I discovered cooking with coconut oil this month and have found some amazing recipes. Just the other night I made some pork chops with apple compote. Well, kind of. I did a little substitution and used pears instead of apples (because my family will grab an apple to eat but not a pear) and I had to use coconut syrup for the honey since I do not own honey. But the coconut syrup is made from pure coconut sugar and honey so it was close! My family loved it! I am also trying to expand the horizon of fruits and veggies in our house. I found some frozen pomegranate avrils and love adding them to my oatmeal and darling daughter is going for them too! Last night I introduced her to artichokes. I boiled them and got some veganaisse for her to dip it in. She was afraid but made a good dent in my artichoke since she wanted to eat Mommy's. In addition, I am striving to make more and more of our basics myself such as homemade tortillas. It is nice to know exactly what goes inside and cut out any additional preservatives etc. but it does take time. And time is a limiting factor in my life. For running fuel, I was given a gift of Huma Chia Energy Gel to try and I LOVE IT! It has a smoother texture and nicer flavor than the VegaSport gels...that I still use too. Now to find it at a somewhat reasonable price and Amazon only had mango and I do not like mango. It is expensive but all natural so I just might need to bite the bullet and buy 24 from their site for $54. Good thing I use gels and applesauce to go! It makes the cost easier to swallow.

Goal 2: Improve flexibility. This is a goal of persistence, confidence, determination, and practice, practice, practice. I feel this month I took a step back, or at least on photo day, but all in all, I do see many benefits from my daily yoga and I will stick to it. Since my goal was to touch my toes, and I achieved that, I am seeing just how far I can go. And yes, I will continue to keep a photo journal of my progress since it benefits me. I have also downloaded some more classes on the YogaStudio app and even braved to download some advanced classes too. Oh me oh my!


Goal 3: Run every day. Check. Done. I love it! I can't imagine a day without a run now since it is such a huge part of who I am. It would be like not brushing my teeth or taking a shower. Yuck! And I am happy to say I have discovered I Run for Michael (IR4) through a fellow blogger. For the life of me I can't remember who and I so wish I did since I would love to publicly thank him/her! I am on the waiting list to be a runner for my buddy who can't run for various reasons. Think of it as a support system for someone, child or adult, facing different challenges in life. And I am saying different since their challenges are not the same as the challenge of a run. The wait is long and I was told to expect it to take 12+ weeks to get my match. I am number 2,589 on the list and yes, they invited me to start supported the runners/buddies now on their facebook page and yes, I have. In fact, I thought of my future buddy during the final two miles of my 14 mile run this past Sunday. If my running can make someone feel better, supported, and cared for how can I not do it?

Goal 4: Be a stronger representative of Maui running. I am getting there but in all reality, this is a tough goal to measure. At least I posted on my two races I did in March. Two races. One month. In fact, two races, one week, two PR's. I am still very happy! On a somewhat related note, I did the courses, took the test, passed, and became a RRCA Certified Race Director in March too! Woo-hoo! I did learn some valuable stuff that will help me with next year's Run for the Whales. And in terms of connecting with local runners, I am out there supporting them and their efforts and that is a means of representing Maui running in my little neck of the woods.

What's in store for April? Well, it seems I am on the same track as last year at the same time. I am focused on getting a solid base in place for my marathon training. I am racing marathons in September and December again and have big goals. I am setting the foundation now and I am adding in more core work with my yoga to strengthen my core and perhaps define my abs a bit more. Just being honest...yes, I would like strong looking abs.

This post will be linked to the #bestfoot link up through Run to the Finish,The Adventures of a Darwinian Fail, and The Sweet Life with Ericka. I love this link up and each week strive to find at least one new lady to support! Jump on over and find some awesomeness and add your own!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for technology and how it brings us all together.
Daily Affirmation: I am a good role model.